It's About Time
When too much stuff is not enough
HOW MUCH stuff do we really need to live?" is the question I keep asking myself and my clients in the ongoing quest for a simplified home and life.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I turned on the television recently to find Oprah Winfrey featuring "Nate's Small Space Miracle"! Designer Nate Berkus' challenge was to design and furnish a 250-square-foot New York apartment, about the size of a one-car garage.
Of course, Nate being Nate, he created a beautiful, luxurious living space for the owner and her two cats.
The show also featured others, including Berkus, who live in very small spaces, from 96 to 645 square feet. It was impressive and inspiring to see people living successfully and happily in such small, uncluttered spaces that were big in style and function.
Perhaps the most amazing thing was that each space, no matter how small, contained ALL that was needed to live!
The show skillfully answered the question, "How much space do we really need?" as well as my question, "How much stuff do we really need to live?"
The answer to both is "Not much -- far less than most of us have!"
How can a person pare down that much? Nate advises that we figure out what makes us happy and what doesn't, and get rid of the latter.
That advice was echoed by organizer Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, who lives in a 265-square-foot apartment with his wife and baby. "Anything that comes in the door you must make the decision of whether you love it or not." That tells you whether to keep it or dump it.
Gillingham-Ryan has a thought-provoking 10 percent rule: "Don't organize your space so that you fit in everything. Organize to fit in 90 percent, leaving 10 percent open so there's room for more to come in."
That's excellent advice!
Since it is possible to live comfortably and clutter-free in small spaces, is there any reason that we who live in larger spaces can't have homes that are beautiful, tasteful and clutter-free?
It IS possible -- if we keep only those things that we love and use, give each item a home and leave 10 percent of our space free so there's room for the "new."
I encourage you to pare down and see for yourself how "less can be enough."
In my next column I'll pose the question, "How much busyness do we need to live?"
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813, call 488-0288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org